That Wretched St. Valentine

painting of St. Sebastian

I think she still loves me

A holy saint I can live with, as long as I don’t have to know them personally. Their stories are pretty interesting, and the paintings of saints in the museum are almost always worth the attention, like those ridiculous paintings of St. Sebastian with a placid expression while full of arrows. In fact, I love all those weird, melodramatic paintings.

There seems to be a saint for almost everything (like bee keeping). I’m not sure we’ve yet gotten around to a saint of computer virus protection. That one we could use. One of the most popular saints, assuming we recognize that an actual saint is involved, is St. Valentine, who has become associated with romantic love. I recommend—officially on this blog—that we update St. Valentine, to make him not only patron saint of romantic love but also saint of morbid neurotic obsession. Though I guess that would be redundant.

Years ago a friend from California told me that she and a female friend, at a point in their lives when they had no boyfriends, used to refer to Valentine’s Day as “Singles Awareness Day”. Also years ago I saw an online comment on a Russian site, referring to Valentine’s Day as “All Idiots Day” (День Всех Идиотов, if you want the original).

In this regard, I have not yet met anyone who is a bigger idiot than I am, not that I’m putting all those fascinating details online. I’m only an idiot, not a Kardashian. Let it suffice that I’ve been there. A lot. One of those occasions traumatized me to the point that I began writing poetry, and in honor of Valentine’s Day I present a tragic love poem. In fact, here’s a pretend quote from St. Valentine, “All love poems are either tragic or pre-tragic.”

Types of Thoughts

First there are casual thoughts of fondness.
These flow constantly through my brain like counting the seconds of the day.
I see you at the kitchen sink
passing dishes under the water to rinse them.
I hear your voice saying “I loved that movie as a kid.”
I recall the jacket you wore on a windy day.
I barely notice these thoughts
as it seems so natural to have you always on my mind.

Next are thoughts of imaginary dialogue.
These are more intense, and sometimes during these internal conversations
I try to explain a deep and important point to you.
I rehearse it over and over
so many times I grow tired of hearing it myself.
At other times
you tell me you cannot imagine life without me,
and you tell me that you love me intensely.
(In our imaginary dialogues you say all the things I wish you would really say.)

The third type of thought is focused thoughts of longing.
At any given moment these may strike.
When they do, I’m liable to imagine the feel of you in my arms,
and the desire for you to be there against me is so strong it takes me over.
I tremble and breathe faster.
Or else I picture you sitting across from me,
smiling, perhaps, talking, maybe laughing,
so that I want to lose who I am in that moment with you.

The fourth type of thought is thoughts of hope and optimism.
The less said about these the better.
I cannot keep them out of my head,
much as I tell myself they are only fantasms of no substance.
These pernicious thoughts only exist to lead me smiling
past fields of flowers to a cliff edge
where they will hurl me over.

Finally, though I try to avoid them, there are tragic thoughts.
Perhaps you would call these being realistic.
When such thoughts come to me, resisted and unbidden,
I’m forced to admit that I won’t be allowed to spend my life with you.
At such times I wonder what it will be like to live for years
when you are not there, always.

Then I wonder why I think at all.


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Filed under Not Real Poetry

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